Saturday, November 30, 2013

My DIY Sheep Dry Lot

The grass stops growing right about Thanksgiving in middle TN. I needed an overwinter sheep solution. Plus, I weren't gunna let that there hay I cut go to waste.

Enter the sheep shack:
The sheep shack houses the sheep over the
winter months (December through February).
I built it with chain link fence pieces that were here when we moved in! I started theproject on Friday,thinking I'd be doing bits and pieces until next weekend. Luckily, some diligent work let me finish it late this afternoon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A day late, technically, but giving thanks to God never gets old.

I treated the animals to some Thanksgiving treats in the morning (pics after the jump). But the star of the show was the Paleo Thanksgiving Feast that Wife put together.
Clockwise from the smoked turkey leg: paleo orange cranberries, brussel sprouts cooked in bacon,
mashed cauliflower, paleo pork and apple stuffing, sweet potatoes topped with pecans,
 and sauteed green beans.
Breakfast was just as paleo and yummy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Late November Homestead Update

Whelp.Winter is here.

The leaves are gone. The grass is brown. The chicken waterer is freezing overnight. The heaters are out in the house.

Thing #3 helping me winterize.
I have a lot to do to get ready for winter. It's here too fast this year.

New Soap!

We invested in some high quality oils, like babassu and walnut, for the dry season. I have a terrible dry skin issue. So, we took the initiative to make some good cleansing soaps using the oils that are great on dry skin.
Wife VERY SAFELY following the recipe and measuring lye
to work on the babassu and other oils.

Chicken Coop Modifications

Last week, I had to do a little work to the movable chicken coop. It ultimately had two major design flaws: The folding, latching door was not secure enough, and the nest boxes had no backing.

Problem #1 was made evident as the sheep matured (and got heavier...and continued to try to walk on the chicken coop door....and eventually broke the wood). I ended up cutting some thicker wood, and got some 3.5 inch screws to attached the wood, through the hinge hole, and out the back of the metal panel of the door.
The thicker plank supporting the door make the overall structure more sturdy.
The second modification was necessary after I lost an egg.  :(

Friday, November 15, 2013

Replacement Trees

Nine of our 26 trees did NOT survive.

We lost an apple, two peaches, two paw-paws, two almonds, and two pecans.
Despite needing nine new trees, I could only find 8 rootstocks. One paw-paw is MIA. But, the great people at Willis Orchard Co. are sending me new ones for the dead trees I still have (shown above). It's a great place to shop for mail-order trees. We'll be expanding the orchard soon. Probably in December-ish. Stay tuned.

Go Colts!

Wife and I took FIL and BIL#1 to the Colts/Titans game last night.
Great view.
The game was a great big "THANK YOU"  to them for helping with the metal roof install last winter. It was especially sweet seeing our Colts win! It was a 30-27 final score.

More pics after the jump. (FWIW, my iPhone was taking blurry pics all night. Not my fault.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Have Eggs!

Our chickens aren't defective!!
I awoke Wednesday morning to feed the chickens and was FINALLY rewarded.
Our flock of sixteen 29-week-old chickens has, as of this writing,produced exactly two eggs. The one pictured above is egg el numero uno. That was yesterday. I got another today. (Yes, I am slow to post. Lots going on round these here parts this month.) Our flock, BTW, is down to Corn (our mystery breed rooster), one Rhode Island Red hen, 5 Red Stars (4 hen, 1 roo), and 9 black ones- a blend of Autralorps and Jersey Giants that are still indistinguishable from one another. Wife and I ordered a bunch more- expect a new chicks post at the end of January. ;)

The bright side of it was that whomever laid the eggs knew to lay in the nest boxes.Having heard the horror stories of eggs being hidden 'round the yard, I was pleasantly surprise(quite surprised, actually) to find it in the box. I had been keeping a small plastic baseball-ish thing in the nest boxes,moving it around every few days, hoping they would get the hint.They did. Now, I can stop scouring the coop yard every other day looking for hidden eggs. Hooray!

In other news, things are finally slowing down after my new job. I am transitioning out of my second night gig now, so as of Thanksgiving will be free and clear of additional outside responsibilities, and can focus more fully on my one the family, the one job, and the homestead (and yes, this blog too, my dear impatient readers). Alleluia!